Spring “To Do” List for Grass Managers

As winter loosens its surly grip and dreams of spring abound, it’s a good time to remind yourself how important it is to actively managing your grass and forage resources. There is no secret formula and only one rule: Think grass first. If you ask yourself "what’s best in the long term for my forage resources?" and let the answer be your guide, you will make improvements. With that in mind let’s take a moment as spring approaches and apply some grass first management principals to some common spring problems farmers’ encounter. Prevent Grass Tetany Here's what happens in our pastures that causes grass tetany: As the grasses explode from their winter slumber, their vegetative growth exceeds the plant's physiological capabilities to take up magnesium. While the livestock are beside themselves with udder joy (pun intended) they eat themselves into a case of hypomagnesemia (low magnesium concentration in blood). Lactating cattle are especially susceptible to what can be a very serious and even fatal condition. There are simple steps to prevent this or at least minimize the likelihood of grass tetany occurring, and these steps are also part of a grass first management system. Cool season grasses have lower magnesium levels than legumes and forbes. If you maintain a diverse pasture stand (grasses and legumes) you lower the chances of grass tetany. Managing soil pH can also help. Proper pH maximizes magnesium availability. It also helps to delay fertilizing until a litt

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